Letter XIII

September 3, 2434

Barren, Mitchell D., Technical Sergeant

4th Fleet, 4th Fleet Security Forces (FSF)

 

Dear Dad,

We are nearly finished with our initial survey of this planet.  There were no complications during our preliminary scouting missions.  The Marines with us are getting pretty restless but I would consider that to be a good thing.  The scientists are nearly finished and we will move on to the next.

We were able to capture some of the local wildlife for study but other than that, there is nothing else out here.  The planet’s location is ideal in a strategic sense in terms of location, but it would be a logistical nightmare. We managed to find several different water sources and the water itself is compatible for human use, but there is some kind of microbial life within it that is not.

Not just that, it is actually fatal.  Before Mom starts worrying, you know to tell her that we brought enough water with us to last the entire crew for months and that isn’t even with strict rationing.  Plus, the microbe can be removed from the water and consumed, it would just take the kind of equipment that would make it not worth the military effort.

The water is infested with it.  We don’t have the equipment to see how long it would take to purify on an industrial scale, but with the equipment we have, it takes several hours for one liter.  The microbe, whatever it is, isn’t like anything we have ever encountered. The scientists are starting to throw words and phrases around like sentient and fighting back.  Being that it isn’t something we have ever encountered, it would stand to reason that not all purification methods would work.

The wildlife would also not be cooperative with human digestion.  They consume the water, and therefore, the microbes. Most of them have built up some kind of need for it in their bodies.  I think. I am a military man. I believe I have just about exhausted my scientific linguistic abilities.

We got word through ansible that another assault was made on Outpost 86.  Fleet Special Investigators and Fleet Intelligence determined that they spent the better part of a month smuggling ground troops and weapons planetside.  You worked intelligence for a while. Can you explain what they were thinking?

I understand the tenacity but the logic in some of these doomed attempts escapes me.  This isn’t like the history books where you are just trying to demonstrate that you aren’t afraid or the small hopes that the raid would be successful.  They sent something around the size of a battalion but Fleet Security Forces absolutely hammered them. There was never even a call made to the Marines. It was almost like they wanted to get rid of these men and the attack was so sad and pathetic that no journalist or reporters even bothered covering it.

Granted, if the attack would have done any damage or cost any life I would feel terrible for being all the way out here and unable to help my unit.  Based off what I was told, the auto defense system was more than enough. They even joked about removing some of the turrets because it was a waste of munitions.  Many of the attackers were hit by crossfire from multiple turrets.

Obviously, they have no intention of removing anything.  In the off-chance that was the purpose of the attack, the turrets are being left where they are, for the most part.  Adjustments are being made to some of the positionings of several turrets in order to increase round expenditure efficiency but that is about it.

It made me uncomfortable that I couldn’t help but we are in just as much if not more danger out here.  Any planet we set foot on is previously unexplored by the fleet. We are stepping carefully and taking every possible precaution, but that will not always be enough.  We have less than 20 fighting men on this vessel and we are taking on open space in a damn convertible. Running into any GFI vessel that isn’t a troop transport would be a disaster for us.

The Mako is a fast ship and has a fantastic crew, but the fighting capacity just isn’t there.  We could put up a bit of a fight but we are just too small and our munitions are mostly defensive.  We could take any individual vessel out, but to encounter more than one at any given time, we run. Mako may have some of the smallest guns, but she is a speedster.  As long as we don’t get caught in anyone’s targeting system, we stand a pretty fair chance of escape.

I have to mention a side note.  There is absolutely nothing that anyone can do about this, but I am hoping that our excursions will bring us within shuttle range of Midway Station.  There was this amazing bar not too far from one of our outposts that had good drinks but the strangest food. They said it was all food that is mostly no longer made or in circulation throughout most of the coalition but that part I can’t understand.  It was so good that I have been thinking about it ever since.

The place was called “Mira’s.”  They recommended this plate of little triangular things that were covered with cheese and some kind of ground up meat.  I think it was beef. There was also beans on it and the waitress told me that you are supposed to use the triangle things to scoop up the rest and eat.  I can’t remember what the dish or the triangle things were called but it was amazing. I would love the opportunity to take my team there sometime soon and order that meal.  So good.

I will talk to you soon.  Take care of everyone. I heard Russel is on his way to the research station near Outpost 86 so I will either write to him directly or see him as soon as we return.

 

Love,

 

Mitch

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